Biomechanics and Neuroscience

PhD opportunities are available in 5 areas of specialization:

Biomechanics and Neuroscience

Biomechanics and Neuroscience researchers work to better understand human structure and function interactions between biology (muscles, bones, joints), mechanics (forces, acceleration, motion) and/or the nervous system (brain, nerves, genetics). We aim to improve our understanding of body movement in health and disease, within different population groups (e.g. men and women), across the lifespan (from young to old), and in a variety of settings (e.g. sport, workplace and rehabilitation). From this research approach, in turn, we can design and implement intervention strategies to augment health and well-being.

Our research experts in this group study, for example:

  • Mobility in healthy, aging and in people with disabilities such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease from a brain and behavior perspective;
  • The impact of training, fatigue and musculoskeletal disorders on posture, motion and function of athletes and workers;
  • How ergonomic interventions such as standing desks affect neuromechanical and performance characteristics;
  • Testing of novel sport equipment design and their impact on athletic performance in running and skating;
  • How biomarkers can help detect functional impairments associated with juvenile diseases;
  • The epigenetic modifications associated with brain and spinal cord postnatal development particularly affecting neuroplasticity.

Professors in Biomechanics and Neuroscience:

Dr. Julie Côté
Dr. Caroline Paquette
Dr. Benoit Gentil

Exercise Physiology

Our Exercise Physiology faculty members are broadly interested in the effects of exercise and physical activity on functional, health and performance outcomes in healthy, clinical, and athletic populations.

Specific areas of interest include: muscle, cardiovascular and respiratory (patho)physiology; nutrition and exercise metabolism; musculoskeletal health; body composition; aging; prevention and management of chronic disease; and rehabilitative exercise training, including prehabilitation.

Our research methods span from basic to clinical, including: clinical cardiopulmonary exercise testing with pulmonary gas exchange and metabolic analyses; respiratory and limb muscle force assessment; electromyography; dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry; magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy; ultrasound and near infrared spectroscopy; microneurography; stable isotope tracers; biochemical and molecular analyses of cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, muscle and bone responses to exercise and training.

Professors in Exercise Physiology:

Dr. Ross Andersen
Dr. Dennis Jensen
Dr. Dilson E. Rassier
Dr. Charlotte Usselman
Dr. Tyler Churchward-Venne
Dr. Jenna Gibbs

Physical and Health Education, Sport Sociology & Cultural Studies

The MA in Physical & Health Education (PHE), Sport Sociology & Cultural Studies (SSCS) consists of two distinct yet overlapping research streams.

The PHE research steam is primarily concerned with the study of physical and health education programming, physical education teacher experiences, curriculum studies, and teacher education. The SSCS stream is primarily concerned with the sociocultural study of sport, recreation, and leisure across a variety of contexts. Our McGill research team is particularly keen on research partnerships with Indigenous, working class, and/or marginalized sport communities and attempts to focus on how sport & physical activity can be used to foster community wellbeing.

Potential research topics for the PHE stream include: Critical pedagogy; social justice in physical education teacher education; early career physical education teacher experiences; outdoor education; Indigenous ways of knowing in kinesiology and physical education.

Potential research topics for the SSCS stream include: Indigenous sport and physical culture; Sport-for-development and peace; working class sport and identity; Canadian sport history.

Professors in Physical and Health Education, Sport Sociology & Cultural Studies:

Dr. William Harvey
Dr. Jordan Koch

Adapted Physical Activity

Adapted physical activity is a branch of kinesiology sciences that focuses on an interdisciplinary understanding and the promotion of physical activity participation among people with disabilities.

This graduate program stream touches upon physical activity and sport participation of people living with one or multiple disabilities, including developmental, emotional, intellectual, and/or physical. Research within the adapted physical activity steam is primarily applied to real world physical activity and sport settings and is founded on theoretical approaches. Studies will center on motivation, self-determination, coaching, participation, and/or social inclusion of children, youth, or adults with disabilities within sport/physical activity contexts.

Professors in Adapted Physical Activity:

Dr. William Harvey
Dr. Shane N. Sweet
Dr. Gordon Bloom

Sport and Exercise Psychology

Sport and Exercise Psychology involves the scientific study of people and their behaviours in sport and exercise contexts and the practical applications of that knowledge. Sport and Exercise Psychology is an interdisciplinary field that is acknowledged as a core discipline within Kinesiology and Physical Education programs.

Most people study sport and exercise psychology with two objectives in mind: (1) to understand how psychological and social factors influence an individual’s behavioural outcomes (e.g., sport performance, exercise motivation) and (2) to understand how participation in sport and exercise influences psychological and social development, health, and well-being.

Sport Psychology Emphasis focuses on coaching psychology, youth involvement and development, sport-specific personality, motivation, arousal, anxiety, stress, aggression, group cohesion, psychological skills, and gender issues.

Exercise Psychology Emphasis focuses on exercise and physical activity issues associated with epidemiology, barriers and motives, social influences and social support, community, group, and individual interventions, self-esteem, body image, stress and coping, emotional well-being, quality of life, and special populations.

At McGill our sport and exercise psychology program focuses on a broad population base, including: elite or recreational athletes, youth and older adults, and people with disabilities and chronic diseases.

Professors in Sport and Exercise Psychology:

Dr. Gordon Bloom
Dr. Lindsay Duncan
Dr. Shane N. Sweet

Professors Accepting Graduate Students


Fall 2023

Winter 2024
Dr. Gordon Bloom Masters and PhD N/A
Dr. Tyler Churchward-Venne Masters and PhD Masters and PhD
Dr. Julie Côté Masters and PhD Masters and PhD
Dr. Lindsay Duncan Masters and PhD N/A
Dr. Benoit Gentil TBA TBA
Dr. Jenna Gibbs Masters and PhD Masters and PhD
Dr. William James Harvey TBA TBA
Dr. Dennis Jensen Masters and PhD Masters and PhD
Dr. Jordan Koch TBA TBA
Dr. Caroline Paquette PhD PhD
Dr. Dilson Rassier TBA TBA
Dr. Shawn Robbins Masters and PhD N/A
Dr. Shane Sweet Masters N/A
Dr. Charlotte Usselman N/A N/A


Back to top